BUSINESS
02/23/2018 12:25 EST | Updated 02/23/2018 12:29 EST

Businesses Sever Ties With NRA In Wake Of Florida Shooting

It may be a sign of a shift on the gun control issue.

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Oxon Hill, Md., Feb. 22, 2018. In what may be a sign that American politics is undergoing a shift on the issue of gun control, a number of businesses are distancing themselves from the NRA.
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Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Oxon Hill, Md., Feb. 22, 2018. In what may be a sign that American politics is undergoing a shift on the issue of gun control, a number of businesses are distancing themselves from the NRA.

In what may be a sign that American politics is undergoing a shift on the issue of gun control, a number of businesses are distancing themselves from the National Rifle Association.

Car rental company Enterprise said this week it is ending a discount program for NRA members.

Enterprise Holdings also operates the Alamo and National brands.

Meanwhile, the U.S.'s largest largest privately-owned bank holding company said it will stop producing credit cards for the NRA.

Nebraska-based First National Bank of Omaha will not renew its contract to issue the group's NRA Visa Card, spokesman Kevin Langin said in a statement.

"Customer feedback has caused us to review our relationship with the NRA,'' Langin said.

He declined to say when the contract would expire and would not elaborate on what sort of feedback the company had received. Some social media users who identified themselves as customers pledged to take their business elsewhere.

The announcement came after the progressive news website ThinkProgress listed the bank as a company that supports the NRA.

ThinkProgress noted that First National Bank offered two NRA cards, each with a $40 bonus, and touted it as "enough to reimburse your one-year NRA membership!''

Enterprise and First National's decisions come as protests and controversy continue in the wake of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead.

Other companies have also sought to distance themselves from the NRA recently, including hotel chains Best Western and Wyndham Hotels. Both have in the past offered discounts to NRA members, and both took to social media this week to deny they do so anymore.

The phenomenon of businesses moving away from the NRA is an example of how individuals are using social media "to equalize the power balance between consumers, companies and other large organizations, like the NRA," said Tandy Thomas, an assistant professor at Queen's University's Smith School of Business.

"Consumers are no longer interested in helping companies that don't share their values," Thomas said in a statement.

"Social responsibility is no longer a great 'catch-phrase' that companies can use to bolster their brand image — consumers are now demanding that social responsibility and ethics be embedded in every aspect of a company."

— Daniel Tencer, HuffPost Canada, with files from The Associated Press

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